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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 48854
Last updated: 1 May 2020
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Date:10-APR-1945
Time:morning
Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire F.Mk 21
Owner/operator:91 (Nigeria) Squadron Royal Air Force (91 (Nigeria) Sqn RAF)
Registration: LA229
C/n / msn: DL-?
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:North Sea 13 km west of Den Helder, Noord-Holland -   Netherlands
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Ludham
Destination airport:
Narrative:
In the last days of 1944, the pilots 91 Sqn RAF learned that their squadron would be the first to receive the latest Spitfire to reach the frontline, the F 21 (Roman numerals were officially sued up to XX). This variant would be the fastest of the wartime Spitfires, capable of speeds of up to 454 mph at 26,000 ft, but the major improvements was that its standard armament was four 20mm Hispano Mk II cannons.

The first two F 21s were delivered to the squadron on 4 January 1945 but in the next months operations were flown in the old Spitfire IXs of the squadrons, while the F 21s were used for practice flights and cannon tests.

The first Spitfire F 21 operation was finally flown on 10 April 1945. Early reconnaissances over the North Sea had discovered two German minesweepers moving north and six barges moving south. Four aircraft of 91 Sqn were sent to attack them, but were later recalled to Ludham.

During the flight home, Flt Lt A Roy Cruickshank, flying Spitfire LA203, and Flg Off John R Faulkner, in Spitfire LA229, attacked shipping off the Dutch port of Den Helder. Encountering particularly accurate defensive fire, both pilots were swiftly shot down into the North Sea.

An ASR search found them in their dinghies about eight miles off the Dutch coast, and a Catalina, escoretd by four Thunderbolts, went to rescue them. An airborne lifeboat was also dropped to them by a Coastal Command Warwick, but eventuattly they were picked up by the Catalina and flown straight to a US military hospital at Halesworth, Suffolk. The pilots were not seriously injured, however, and returned to the squadron the next day.

At the conclusion of the first Spitfire F 21 operations, AOC No 12 Group visited Ludham to find out how the day had progressed. ’Not particularly well’ would have been the honest answer!

Sources:

"Osprey Aviation Elite 3: No 91 ’Nigeria’ Squadron", by Peter Hall. ISBN 1-84176-160-5
http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=26022
http://www.defensie.nl/binaries/defensie/documenten/brochures/2008/04/08/verliesregister-1945/verliesregister-1945.pdf
http://www.maplandia.com/netherlands/den-helder/
https://verliesregister.studiegroepluchtoorlog.nl/rs.php?aircraft=&sglo=T5533&date=&location=&pn=&unit=&name=&cemetry=&airforce=&target=&area=&airfield=


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
17-Dec-2008 11:45 ASN archive Added
31-Dec-2011 02:56 Uli Elch Updated [Phase, Source, Narrative]
17-Apr-2017 14:32 Red Dragon Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
02-Oct-2017 08:26 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Operator, Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
02-Apr-2020 17:40 TigerTimon Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Cn, Other fatalities, Location, Source]
01-May-2020 16:24 Allach Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Operator]

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